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Difficult mountain pass travel expected into early next week

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Posted at 4:34 PM, Dec 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-19 18:34:57-05

An atmospheric river of moisture will be directed at the northern Rockies over the next few days meaning we’ve got some WEATHER moving in!!

Expect moderate mountain snow overnight and into Sunday morning with a few Winter Weather Advisories in place:

  • West Glacier Region above 4,000' (Essex to Marias Pass) -Total snow accumulations of 4" to 6" possible with winds gusting as high as 50mph.
  • Bitterroot/Sapphire Mountains (mainly Lost Trail & Lolo Pass) - Total snow accumulations of 4" to 7" possible with winds gusting as high as 40mph.
  • Lower Clark Fork Region above 4,000' - Total snow accumulations of 3" to 6" possible. Mixed precipitation is also possible from Lookout Pass to St. Regis which may cause quickly changing and slick conditions. Winds gusting as high as 40 mph.

Most valley locations will see either rain or a rain/snow mix (perhaps pockets of freezing rain) with highs Sunday in the upper 30s to mid 40s. Breezy conditions will also exist with wind highlights issued for areas along and east of the Divide.

More of the same is expected Monday with another surge of Pacific moisture, but a cold front looks to move through western Montana by Tuesday dropping temps into the low to mid 30s along with snow levels. This will be our best chance of a White Christmas for a lot of our valleys currently without snow. As of now, accumulations look to be on the lighter side with the possibility of moderate snow in the West Glacier Region and Flathead Valley Tuesday afternoon/evening.

Quiet weather will then move in for Wednesday, Thursday and Christmas Day with a mix of clouds and sun and highs in the 30s.